Bruce Sackrison

Bruce Sackrison is a Napa Valley Register columnist who will write about property and casualty insurance matters.

Do you own or manage a restaurant? If so, I have three tips especially for you.

1. Think about your unique risks

Your place of business is a magical place. It’s special and amazing among all businesses.

There’s nothing quite like a well-run restaurant. People walk in the door hungry and thirsty. They leave with full stomachs and happy hearts. And you made that happen!

You make someone’s day, and you do it over and over every day. But making magic comes with special risks that are unique to your industry.

Part of the “job of insurance” is to help you assess the daily risks you face as you make magic in your restaurant. Sitting down and thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t sound very fun, so many restaurant owners don’t do it. Maybe you haven’t done it in a long time, either.

Let me mention a few unique risks that you face every day:

Food spoilage:

It takes only a blown fuse in the middle of the night, or a lengthy power outage, to ruin thousands of dollars of food. Do you have enough insurance coverage if this were to happen to you?

Inebriated customers:

If you serve alcohol, you know that some customers have more to drink than grandma would approve of. You can be held responsible under California law, in certain situations, for damage an intoxicated person does. Do you have enough coverage for this?

Slips and falls:

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 1 million customers slip and get hurt in restaurants each year. And more than 2 million employees have slip-and-fall injuries. Restaurants are slippery places with claims waiting to happen. Are you ready for that?

2. Learn about your unique solutions

Restaurants in the Napa Valley are known the world over as unique and special places. So, they deserve unique insurance solutions.

Beyond the basics of restaurant liability insurance, and beyond covering your building and property adequately, there are other coverages that you may need to consider. Here are just a few coverages that are sometimes overlooked:

  • Flood
  • Equipment breakdown
  • Food spoilage
  • Off-premises catering
  • Liquor liability
  • Employee theft
  • Data breach
  • Loss of business income

In addition to these oft-forgotten coverages, there is umbrella coverage. When you hear the words ‘Umbrella Coverage’, hopefully you don’t picture insuring your customers’ umbrellas.

Umbrella insurance is a way to add higher liability limits on top of all of your other coverage. It’s always much less expensive than people think, and it’s worth every dollar. Lawsuits happen to restaurants every day, and they often are for staggering amounts of money.

An umbrella policy can make sure you have enough to settle almost any claim.

3. Work with a specialist

Anyone can sell you a restaurant insurance policy. But not every agent has years of experience working with restaurant owners. The needs and solutions can be complex.

If at all possible, work with an agent who either has those years of experience or can partner with another agent who does. I’ve spent years specializing in restaurants. Feel free to call me if you have any questions.

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Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates. He is at 707-931-0186 or bruces@sackifs.com.